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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Liam McBurney/PA Wire
rebel county

Even Donegal voted YES in the marriage referendum

The result will come as no surprise to TDs who told us as much before yesterday.

DESPITE ITS REPUTATION for being conservative and contrarian even voters in Donegal have said Yes to same-sex marriage.

Early indications were that the referendum would pass in both Donegal North-East and Donegal South-West and so it proved. 

Donegal North East passed the referendum by 52.5 per cent Yes to 47.5 per cent No.

While in Donegal South West, it was Yes 50.1 per cent to No 49.9 per cent.

The result bucks the trend of recent years where voters in the north-western county have consistently rejected referendums. 

Donegal has long had form for rejecting proposals put to the people. It rejected the Fiscal Treaty in 2012, both Lisbon treaties before that and it even said No to the Children’s Referendum in 2012.

Its rebellious streak is renowned across the country and one local TD privately predicted it would vote No this time around.

But several other deputies we spoke to before yesterday’s vote were confident of a Yes vote.

And it’s impossible to quantify, but the intervention by singer Daniel O’Donnell towards the end of the campaign when he said that he would be voting Yes, may have helped to sway floating voters.

Independent TD for Donegal South West, Thomas Pringle, told us that early on in the campaign he was encountering support for the referendum by around 60:40 on the doorsteps.

“There would be, I suppose, it would be seen as an anti-government vote, voting against a referendum, but I think on this occasion it will be close. I think it will come down to the Yes side this time around,” he said earlier this month.

Thomas Pringle. Pictured independent D Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Thomas Pringle Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Sinn Féin’s TD for Donegal North-East Padraig MacLochlainn agreed with Pringle’s assessment, and said there had been a “really vibrant” Yes Equality campaign in the county.

“They’re having a real impact all across the county. In terms of the Sinn Féin canvassing we’ve done it has been around 60-40,” he said earlier in the campaign

Donegal’s reputation for being a conservative county is undeserved, MacLochlainn argued. It’s more that it is just contrarian:

“It’s more that they feel that if anything is coming from Dublin, it’s coming from the political establishment and ‘we’re not buying into it.’

“But this time I think there’s been a really positive Yes Equality campaign.”

Read: Early tallies indicate Ireland has voted YES to same-sex marriage

LIVE: Counting underway in marriage referendum as tallies indicate it’s a YES


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